May 2018

Watershed Calendar

In This Issue
May Events
May 5th - May 19th
Multiple locations

Saturday, May 5
1:00 - 5:00pm
Reston, VA
Saturday, May 5
10:00 - 11:00am
Alexandria, VA
Wetland Awareness Day
Sunday, May 6
Noon - 4:00pm
Alexandria, VA
Splashdown Hike Guide
Tuesday, May 8
Tysons Corner 
Butterflies and Climate Change
Wednesday, May 9
Thursday, May 10
5:00 - 6:00pm
Reston, VA
Green Breakfast
Saturday, May 12
Fairfax, VA
Saturday, May 12
10:00am - 3:00pm
Herndon, VA
Saturday, May 12
10:00am & Noon
Chantilly and Alexandria
Friday, May 18
DC Metro Area
Friday, May 25
7:00 - 9:00pm
Reston, VA

 Is it summer yet? It sure is starting to feel like it! What better way to appreciate the warm temperatures and sunny skies of May than by volunteering outside, learning a little more about our environment, or putting some good native plants in the ground? Read below to see what is going on this month.

May Stream Monitoring Events
Date: Saturday, May 5th
Location: Gainesville, VA

Date: Saturday, May 19th
Location: Centreville, VA
Stream Monitoring News
Volunteers: Join the Clean Water Challenge!
The Izaak Walton Leage of America, the national organization that oversees the Fairfax County Stream Monitoring Program, hopes to monitor 100,000 adiitional stream sites nationwide by 2022. This effort--The Clean Water Challenge--wil not succeed without massive volunteer buy in. If you are a new stream monitoring volunteer, consider taking the certification test and adopting your own stream site. If you are already certified, think about adding a new stream site to your existing one. Information about the Clean Water Challenge is available on the Izaak Walton League's website. To learn more about becomming a ceritifed monitor, contact Dan Schwartz.

Courtesy of Friends of the Occoquan River
Watershed Cleanup Events
Potomac River Watershed Cleanup
Dates: May 5th and May 12th
Locations: Little Hunting Creek and Accotink Creek
The last of the 2018 Potomac River Watershed Cleanups are occurring in May. On May 5th, join Senator Scott Surovell at three cleanup locations along Little Hunting Creek in Mount Vernon. On May 12th, participate in three Friends of Accotink Creek cleanups in Fairfax and Annandale. Details and RSVP information are available on the Ferguson Foundation's Trash Free Potomac Network website.

Other Water Quality News
Statewide Biennial Water Quality Report Released
As required by the Clean Water Act, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) must publish a report every two years summarizing whether waterways are meeting water quality standards. Those that do not are listed as "impaired" and a plan must be formulated for remediation. The most recent report is available on the DEQ website.

40 Years of Water Quality Data at Your Fingertips
A new U.S. Geological Survey  interactive map provides a comprehensive look at changes in the quality of our Nation's rivers and streams over the last four decades. For the first time, monitoring data collected by 74 organizations at almost 1,400 sites have been combined to provide a nationwide look at changes in the quality of our rivers and streams in the 40 years since passage of the Clean Water Act.
NVSWCD Initiatives and Program Updates
Rain Barrel May Workshop Dates
The Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Partners have announced the spring dates for their popular build-your-own workshops. This month, workshops dates will be May 12th in the City of Alexandria and May 19th in Reston. More workshops are scheduled later in the summer. Online registration and ordering is open!
Envirothon Winners Announced!
Congratulations to the Envirothon teams from George C. Marshall High School and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology for advancing to the Virginia Dominion Envirothon State Competition! Envirothon is a team-based natural resources competition for high school-aged students. Teams are tested on their knowledge of forestry, soils, wildlife, aquatics and a yearly special topic. The Marshall and Thomas Jefferson teams respectively finished 1st and 2nd in the Fairfax County Competition and 2nd and 3rd in the Regional Competition, earning the right to advance to the State Competition at Ferrum College. Please visit our Envirothon page If you are interested in starting a team of your own.
2017 Youth Photo Winner
Chris Ganoe's "The Smallest Things"
VA Soil & Water Conservation District Photo Contest Now Open!
The VASWCD's 2018 Photo Contest's theme is Conservation Through The Seasons."  Capture those vibrant moments and express what conservation looks like to you throughout every season!  The contest runs from Feb. 1st- Aug. 15th, and each person can submit up to 10 photos.  For more information please visit the photo contest website.
2017 Youth Photo Winner
Chris Ganoe's "The Smallest Things"
Sustainable Garden Tour Coming in June!
A sustainable garden open house! Tour homes, shools and churches in the Fairfax-Falls Church area to see rain gardens, native plants, rain barrels, wildlife habitat, edible gardens, composting and more. Get inspired and bring some ideas back to your landscpe! Enjoy each garden at your own pace. Visit as many or as few as you like. No RSVP is required. Free and open to all! 
Local News and Programs
Remove Invasive Plants from Fairfax County's Natural Areas
Invasive invaders such as kudzu, wisteria and stilt grass are pushing out important native flora and diminishing the health of our parks. Help turn the tide against these exotic invaders by joining the Invasive Management Area (IMA) volunteers and pulling these weeds out by their roots. Many workdays are scheduled in May! The IMA calendar can be found online.
Image Courtesy of
Potomac Earns Highest Score Yet in Annual Health Assessment!
The Potomac Conservancy's annual State of the Nation's River report gives the Potomac an overall health grade of "B," the highest score it has yet received. The improved assessment is due to reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment; the return of native wildlife like shad and bald eagles; improvements in rural land management; and increasing recreational use and access to the river. Improvements are still needed in many areas, including reducing urban runoff, increasing forested buffers, improving overall water quality, and reducing invasive species. The report is available at
Nominations Open for Fairfax County Environmental Excellence Awards
The Environmental Excellence Awards recognize individuals, organizations, businesses and county employees who unselfishly dedicate time, energy and expertise for the betterment of the environment in support of countywide environmental goals and initiatives.  Award recipients are selected by the Environmental Quality Advisory Council, and the awards are presented in the fall. Nominations forms are online and due by May 31st.
May Event Details
Stream Monitoring Workshop: GainesvillePW
Date: Saturday, May 5, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Location: North Fork of Broad Run, Gainesville, Prince William County
Join the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District for a monitoring workshop along Broad Run in the Gainesville area. For directions and to RSVP, please contact Veronica Tangiri.
Native Plant SalesPS
It's not too late to buy native plants for the spring planting season. Several sales are being held locally. For details about these sales and more around the state, visit the Virginia Native Plant Society website.

Long Branch Nature Center Plant Sale -- Saturday, May 5, 1:00 - 4:00pm
625 S Carlin Springs Rd, Arlington, VA 22204

Friends of Riverbend Park Plant Sale -- Saturday, May 5, 7:30 - 11:30am
Great Falls Grange, 9818 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA 22066

Friends of Runnymede Park Plant Sale -- Saturday, May 5, 10:00am - 2:00pm
195 Herndon Pkwy, Herndon, VA 20170.

Reston Spring Festival Plant Sale -- Saturday, May 5, 1:00 - 5:00pm
Walker Nature Center, 11450 Glade Dr, Reston, VA 20191

Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery Sale-- Sunday, May 6, 10:00am - 2:00pm
Franconia Park, off 6100 Cloud Dr., Springfield, VA

NOVA Master Gardeners Plant Sale-- Sunday, May 6, 9:00am - Noon
Glencarlyn Public Library, 300 S. Kensington St., Arlington, VA

Green Spring's "Spring Garden Day"-- Saturday, May 19, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA

Spring FestivalSF
Date: Saturday, May 5, 1:00 - 5:00pm
Location: Walker Nature Center, 11450 Glade Dr., Reston, VA
Live animals, fishing, craft making, native plant sales, puppet shows, music and exhibits from local environmental groups are just some of the highlights of this FREE family-friendly celebration of spring. No registration required. Event details available online. Rain or shine!
Best Splashdown Hikes in the DC AreaH
Date: Tuesday, May 8, 7:00pm
Location: REI Tysons Store, 8209 Watson St, McLean, VA
Want to combine a good hike with a cooling dip in a stream, under a waterfall or in a lake? Learn about some fine trails from William Needham, the creator of The Hiker's Notebook and contributor to regional trail guides. Free, but please RSVP in advance.
Butterflies and Climate ChangeBCC
Date: Wednesday, May 9, 7:30pm
Location: Huntley Meadows Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, 22306
Join the Friends of Dyke Marsh's quarterly meeting to hear Dr. Leslie Reis of Georgetown University discuss butterflies' interactions with their host plants and responses to climate change. Free, no RSVP required. More information at
School Age Green Educators (SAGE) Meetupsage
Date: Thursday, May 10, 5:00-6:00pm
Location: Terraset Elementary School, 11411 Ridge Heights Rd, Reston
NOVA Outside's monthly SAGE Meetups brings K-12 formal and informal educators and parents together to tour schools, showcase green education initiatives, inspire others, and network. This month's meetup will be at Terraset Elementary School, one of two Fairfax County "underground" schools originally built to maximize energy efficiency after the 1970s energy crisis. Free, more information online.
93rd Green Breakfastgb
Date: Saturday, May 12, 8:30pm
Location: Brion's Grille, 10621 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District and enjoy a hot buffet breakfast while listening to a presentation on an environmental topic of local and regional importance. The May speaker and topic will be announced soon - please check the Conservation District's website for info. The cost is $10, payable at the door, cash preferred. No need to RSVP. For more information, please email

Bike to Work Daybwd
Date: Friday, May 18
Location: All over the DC Metro Area
Ditch the car and take two wheels to work instead: It's Bike to Work Day! Stop at one of 100 pit stops throughout the area to grab a drink and some refreshments. Join a commuter convoy led by an experienced bike commuter, or make your own route to work. Whatever you do, just get out there and pedal! Free. The Bike to Work website has a pit stop map, other information, and registration if you wish to receive a free t-shirt or be entered into the raffle to win a new bike.
Stream Monitoring Workshop: CentrevilleCR
Date: Saturday, March 19, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Location: Cub Run Stream Valley Park, Centreville
Help monitor beautiful Cub Run along a popular hiking path just a bit upstream of where it empties into Bull Run. For directions and to RSVP, please contact Dan Schwartz.
Fairfax County Park Authority Events
Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) offers many events for those interested in conservation and the environment. Several interesting events are outlined below. Classes are often offered for a nominal fee. Please visit the FCPA website for details and a more complete listing of May events and course offerings.

Worm Composting Workshop -- Saturday, May 5, 10:00-11:00am wc
At Green Spring Gardens, learn how to build your own indoor worm composting bin with newspaper and live worms, then recycle food scraps into rich compost. $6 per person for the workshop, $25 for the workshop and composter kit.
Wetland Awareness Day  -- Sunday, May 6, Noon-4:00pm wad
Dip your mind into the wonder of wetlands! Celebrate the beauty and importance of wetlands at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County's premier wetland sanctuary.

Watch sheep shearing and farm equipment demonstrations. Participate in hands-on farm activities such as cow and goat milking. Enjoy crafts, games, and get an up-close introduction to the baby farm animals. Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon. $7 in advance, $8 at the door.

R.I.P Party (Remove Invasive Plants)  -- Saturday, May 12, 1:00pm
Come to Hidden Pond Nature Center and DESTROY invasive plants to earn service hours, VIP stamps, or give back to your community. Bring gloves, clippers and your determination to make it a party!

Two Pollinator Workshops: Build Your Own Butterfly Garden and Pollinator Power  -- Saturday, May 12, 10:00am and Noon pol
Appreciate the importance of pollinators! At EC Lawrence Park at 10am, the Build Your Own Butterfly Garden workshop will teach which plants nourish and support butterflies, and provide you with seeds to take home. $7 per person. At Huntley Meadows at noon, the Pollinator Power: Bees, Bats, Birds and More workshop will provide an indoor discussion and guided walk that will allow you to identify native pollinators. Wrap up the event by makin your own bee hotel and bring home seeds from two native plants important to pollinators. $12 per person.
Environmental Film: Minimalismef
Date: Friday, March 25, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Walker Nature Center, 11450 Glade Dr., Reston
How might your life be better with less? This film examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking viewer inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life. Register by May 24th:, 703-476-9689, ext. 3. Free, but a $5 donation is suggested.
June Sneak Peak
Reston Bioblitz
Date: Saturday, June 2nd, 2018
Location: Natural areas throughout Reston
A bioblitz is a quick but intense biotic survey completed within a 24 hour period. It provides a snap shot in time of what plants and wildlife are found in a certain place. Reston's 2018 bioblitz is looking for volunteers, scientists, and naturalists to participate, whether you're a Reston residents or not. Please contact Patricia Greenberg for more information:, 703-435-6552.
2018 Sustainable Garden Tour
Date: Sunday, June 10th, 2018, 1:00 - 5:00pm
Location: Selected properties in Fairfax and Falls Church
The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District's 2018 Sustainable Garden Tour lets local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with nature in mind. This year's tour features homes, schools, and churches in the Fairfax-Falls Church area. See rain gardens, native plants, rain barrels, wildlife habitat, edible gardens, composting and more. Enjoy each garden at your own pace. Visit as many or as few as you like. No RSVP is required. Free and open to all! 
NoVa Soil & Water Conservation District | 703-324-1460 | |
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905
Fairfax, VA 22035